Sugar House According to Bob
July 20th, 2009
Sugar House Coffee owner Bob Evans weighs in on the neighborhood
by Richard Markosian
Bob Evans is well know in the Sugar House community as the man who built up Sugar House Coffee into a prime neighborhood destination. Sugar House residents would walk to his coffee shop and sit on his patio--chatting and watching the eclectic crowd stroll by. Today, Sugar House Coffee is still a neighborhood destination but the pedestrian traffic in the area has weakened and their clientele has broadened to include a more mature crowd.
"Today we are getting a wider range of cutomers...we now serve fresh carrot juices, sandwiches, and smoothies to the local gym customers. When neighbors discover what we have to offer, they much prefer us to Starbucks,” said Evans.
Sugar House Coffee, and nearly every other Sugar House business, are not doing the same volume as when the 14 locally-owned businesses were flourishing on the Granite Block. Evans said the problems could have been avoided if someone would have listened to his concerns.
Three years ago, Evans wrote a letter titled "The Zephyr Effect.” In the letter, Evans pointed out how in the 80’s up until 2001 the Zephyr Club on 300 South and West Temple was a prime local hot spot. The land owner, seeing the Zephyr’s success, made big plans to open his own club. When the Zephyr’s lease expired, it wasn’t renewed. Nine years and no building permits later, the landlord has been unable to open a new club and the building has remained vacant for nearly a decade--a dark hole on what used to be a thriving corner of downtown.
Evans foresaw the "Zephyr Effect” as a possibility for Sugar House if the developer didn’t have his plans in place before demolition. His concerns fell on deaf ears except for one City Council Member: Soren Simonson.
Evans was joined by other Sugar House merchants at a recent meeting discussing ways to promote Sugar House’s retail area. "Sugar House is still here, we just need the neighborhood to vote with their dollars to keep us around.”
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